The undertaking is being executed by the American-based establishment Avasant, in organization with the University of Technology (UTech), and through backing from Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO). It is aimed at promoting skills development and facilitating employment opportunities through existing BPO service providers.
The trainees, ages 18 to 24, are benefiting from month-long courses in communications, social skills, professionalism, technology in the workplace, and customer care.
Executive director of Avasant Foundation Chitra Rajeshwari informed that 20 persons from the first cohort of the programme have already been employed in the sector, while the second cohort of graduates are undergoing interviews.
“This is an important programme. We work really closely with the BPO sector because they create jobs for us. We do the training and we get the trainers from the industry, so when the
students are done, they are ready to work in the industry,” she pointed out.
Rajeshwari said the programme will be expanded next year to train between 500 and 800 persons for the banking and hospitality sectors. Youth entrepreneurship will also be a significant aspect of the expanded programme.
“Initially, we did the programme and went out into the industry for jobs, but now we do a supply-demand kind of thing. We know there is a demand so we say ‘Hey, we can supply you the youth’,” she said.
Vice-president of community service and development at UTech and project director of Fi Wi Jamaica Professor Rosalea Hamilton has hailed the programme.
“It offers a good taste of what it takes to be excellent and to be ready for the workplace. We are very proud of the collaboration with Avasant because the university prides itself on being responsive to our community,” she said.
Professor Hamilton said the programme also serves to prevent youngsters, who cannot afford to matriculate to universities, from “falling between the cracks”, making a difference in their lives and ultimately their communities.
JAMPRO supports the Digital Youth Employment Initiative by getting the industry stakeholders together, creating the connections between the companies and the programme, and also doing public relations and promotions.
The United States Agency for International Development, through its Fi Wi Jamaica project, is a sponsor of the programme. Other partners include the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, Xerox, Hinduja Global Solutions and HCL Technologies